- NAGAFF BoT Chairman, Mr. Chidiebere Enelama, with the National President, Mr. Tochukwu Ezisi, presenting a plaque to the new Commissioner of Police, Western Port, Mr. Olanrewaju Ishola, during his familiarisation visit to the NAGAFF Headquarters in Lagos…Wednesday
By Anthony Nwachukwu
The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) has urged the new Commissioner of Police, Western Port, Mr. Olanrewaju Ishola, to end the detention of containers by agents of the Nigeria Police after due clearance in the port by the appropriate authorities.
The association’s leadership, led by the founder, Dr. Boniface Aniebonam, and National President, Mr. Tochukwu Ezisi, spoke in Lagos Wednesday when they received Mr. Ishola at the NAGAFF Headquarters during his familiarisation visit.
Welcoming him to the secretariat, Ezisi told Ishola that a major problem facing freight forwarders at the Western Port, especially Apapa Port, was that other police units block containers in the ports, thereby increasing demurrage.
“I raised the issue at our meeting with the AIG, represented by the CP Maritime,” Ezisi said. “Having a CP Western Port here, we still don’t understand why the AIG Maritime’s office will be interfering with jobs, calling shipping companies to block containers – and there is a CP here.
“I believe that in the order of hierarchy, if there is anything he suspects from that end, he supposed to bring it down to you to act on, not fighting from there. What it means is that you are not doing anything.
“So, we want you to take it back to the management, it is not proper. If there is anything within the port, and you are in the port, your office should handle it and get back to them.”
According to him, the high rate of demurrage now at N70,000/day, plus the terminal and shipping company charges, mean that freight forwarders lose about N120,000/day to such unjustifiable incidents.
Unfortunately, “the police will keep that container for two to three days. The worst case is that an agent will come (for the container), they will ask him to write a statement, then detain and ask him to get someone to bail him. At the end of the day, that matter ends there, plus the demurrage paid.”
Against these practices which frustrate ease of doing business, Ezisi told the police chief: “I know that some of your officers are at the examination bay.
“You stand in a position to tell them, from the feedback from your officers, what every container has. So, it is a worrying issue for the freight forwarders.”
Similarly, the NAGAFF Founder, Dr. Aniebonam, explained that members of the association live by the law, adding that anyone who breaches the law among them is on his own.
However, he assured Ishola that he has stepped into the “household of God”, stating that just as the former Inspector-General Alkali, he would be more successful in his career.
On his part, Ishola said that he was simply on a familiarisation visit and had not the details of the issue, as it might have happened before his arrival.
Describing his return to the port as “providence,” having left the Apapa Port eight years ago, he urged the NAGAFF leadership to document their complaints and send to his office.
He assured that he would treat the matter on its merits, stating: “We will provide security and safe environment to enable business growth.”